Tonight: Donkey Rides and Special Cocktails at Rock Bar’s Third Anniversary Bash

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Did you know that people have been throwing back drinks at the corner of 29th and Tiffany in La Lengua for 100+ years? It’s true (and you can learn more about that below).

Today the lovely crew at the gritty-glamorous Rock Bar carries on that sordid tradition in fine form, and they invite you to their kid-friendly Third Anniversary Party TONIGHT:

Rock Bar THIRD ANNIVERSARY

What: Rock Bar’s Third Anniversary Donkey Party
Where: Rock Bar 80 29th Street
When: Thursday March 19th 5pm-2am

Join Rock Bar in celebrating three years at 80 29th Street. A neighborhood watering hole for over one hundred years, we are proud to take part in a rich History at the base of Bernal Hill. The Spring Equinox marks our anniversary and we invite you to dress as your favorite Astrological Sign. Or come dressed as YOU ARE (you do you) – ENJOY batched cocktails, punch, and edibles from The Front Porch.

As a bar we cater to adults, at nite while much of the neighborhood sleeps. We have two parents on our team and we know many who cannot take part in the nightlife we host. Each anniversary we offer an opportunity for friends, family, the young and old to take part in celebrating… We invite our young neighbors to enjoy a Donkey Ride down Tiffany as the sun sets behind Diamond Heights. It gives us great pleasure to see families engaged with our bar program!

FREE Donkey Rides down Tiffany from 5pm-9pm

We are sure to entertain as well…
INTERNET FAMOUS returns, with Jimmy Franks & Johnny Bagels

SPECIAL BONUS! Check out this fun little history of the bar space compiled by Team Rock Bar:

History of 80 29th Street:
2011 – Rock Bar – bar
2001-2011 – International Club – lounge
1996-2000 – Esperanza’s – lounge
1981-1991 – Nello’s Place – lounge
1975-1980 – Tiffany’s Lodge – tavern
1968-1974 – Joe & Gill – tavern
1955-1965 – Walt’s Place – lounge
1953-1954 – Geo & Walt’s Place – lounge
1951-1953 – Wesch’s Place – parlor
1942-1950 – Tiffany Club – parlor
1937 – Cornelius Sweeney – liquors
1934-1936 – Tiffany Inn – bar
1931 – Martin Burke (during Prohibition)
1922 – M. J. Reynolds (during Prohibition)
1915-1917 – Timothy J Costello – saloon
1911-1915 – Michael Coody – Saloon
1910 – Mary Caulfield – liquors
1902-1909 – Frank P. Caulfield – liquors

Epicurean Trader Opening This Morning on Cortland

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This morning, The Epicurean Trader will open for business at 401 Cortland, on the corner of Bennington, for the very first time. Grand Opening! Woo hoo!

That said, when your Bernalwood editor first heard that the business would be called The Epicurean Trader, I was gravely concerned. Sure, the fetishism of San Francisco food aficionados can be a bit obnoxious at times. But a business dedicated entirely to the buying and selling of epicureans? As if they were human chattel? Well, let’s just say that seemed a bit extreme.

Fortunately, co-proprietor Holly McDell helped clear things up. Rest assured, she says, the Epicurean Trader will not engage in the buying and selling of epicureans. Instead, it will facilitate the the buying and selling of artisanal food products to epicureans. Whew! Bernalwood is very relieved.

Here’s what else Neighbor Holly has to say about The Epicurean Trader:

My husband Mat and I moved to Bernal (on Putnam) a few years ago, after having our first child. We fell in love with the neighborhood and the sense of community.

The store is called The Epicurean Trader. Inside the store you’ll find hand-selected small batch artisan products from across America, chosen for their incredible flavors and fusions, natural ingredients, and beautiful packaging.

As you are probably aware, there are many amazing products out there that struggle to get into large wholesale accounts for a number of reasons (reliance on distributors, lack of capital or brand awareness etc). Our goal is to be a brand ambassador for these smaller brands, sharing their unique stories, and bringing many of them to San Francisco for the first time.

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We aim to provide a space for Bernal residents to discover and taste the best artisanal foods from across the country. In addition, we will have a curated selection of wines, craft beers, and small batch distilled spirits. On the wine side we are working with Bernal local Jason Moore of Alluvial Wines, as well as Alex Finberg (former sommelier of Farina, and trusted consultant for some of San Francisco’s top restaurants and markets). They have kindly shared their experience and palates to develop a wine program specifically for the Bernal demographic. We aim to have a selection of amazing wines at every price point, to enjoy both mid week, as well as on special occasions.

By working directly with brands and avoiding distributors wherever possible, we aim to offer these products at affordable prices. We see our product selection as being complementary that of The Good Life and Avedano’s.

We’re also going to have in-store tastings where the artisans and wine makers etc can come and share their stories.

Neighbor Holly says The Epicurean Trader will be open at 11 am today. We say: Welcome!

PHOTOS: Courtesy of The Epicurean Trader

A Neighborhood Egg Sandwich Worthy of the Precita Name

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Precita Avenue is a relatively old street, by Bernal Heights standards. It was established in the early 1850s, around the time of the Gold Rush, and to this day Precita Avenue’s zigs and zags mirror the meandering banks of the former Precita Creek, even though the creek was buried under Army/Cesar Chavez more than a century ago.

The Precita Egg Sandwich at the Precita Park Cafe is a relatively new creation, by Bernal Heights standards. You’ll find it near the top of the breakfast menu on the Precita Park Cafe wall, and it consists of an egg cooked with cheddar cheese, pancetta, arugula, tomato, black pepper, and a hint of aioli, served on an english muffin or pain de mai. A bottle of El Tapatio hot sauce is also provided for those who seek an enhanced experience.

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All that, made with love, for just under seven bucks.

I mention this because last weekend Bernalwood’s Cub Reporter and I took a pair of Precita Egg Sandwiches for a late-morning test drive, and we appreciated the fact that our sandwiches were both delicious and eponymous (and vice-versa).

In essence, the Precita Egg Sandwich is a wholesome, homegrown interpretation of the classic McBreakfast staple. It delivers a comforting dose of savory proteins, lively greens, fresh bread, and deep flavors. Not too fancy. Not too fussy. Plus, compared to that McBreakfast thing, the Precita Egg Sandwich is 93.2% more yummy and 100% certified guilt-free. In Bernalwood’s long-term neighborhood tests, the Precita Egg Sandwich has consistently been a happiness-inducing way to start the day.

Most importantly, the Precita Egg is a breakfast sandwich worthy of the Precita name. It’s a Bernal breakfast that was worth waiting 160+ years for.

PHOTOS: Telstar Logistics

Neighbor Darcy Shares Her Gluten-Free “Shiksa Hamantashen” Recipe

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Neighbor Darcy Lee, the domestic doyenne of the fabulous Heartfelt on Cortland, has been making trouble in the kitchen again. Just in time for the festive Jewish Purim holiday, she passes along this fun new recipe. Neighbor Darcy calls it “Shiksa Hamantashen,” and it’s a new take on an Old Country classic:

I lived in New York City for many years and I loved trying different foods.  The Indian food on 6th Street, Italian semolina bread and cannoli in Little Italy, spicy Szechuan dishes in Chinatown, and New York style pizza, greasy and so cheap by the slice.  I remember in February, filled-triangular-cookies would start showing up next to the black & whites.  “What are they filled with?” I would ask.  Poppy seed, prune or apricot usually. I had no idea why they appeared only at this time of year but I grew very fond of them.

Here is what Jewish Food expert Gora Shimoni has to say, ” The tradition to eat hamantashen on Purim began in Europe. The word hamantashen derived from two German words: mohn (poppy seed) and taschen (pockets). Mohntaschen is German for ‘poppy seed pockets’ and was a popular German pastry. Hamantaschen means ‘Haman’s pockets’ and became a popular Purim pastry. It was rumored that the evil Haman’s pockets were filled with bribe money. The most popular explantion of why Jews eat this three cornered pastry on Purim is that Haman wore a three-cornered hat. Eating an image of Haman’s hat is a way to symbolically destroy his memory.”

A few years ago I came across a recipe in Elana Amsterdam’s Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook for hamantaschen. Her picture of them brought back sweet memories. Gluten-free! I gave them a whirl and played with the recipe and this what I settled upon.

I like to experiment with the filling. This year I had a couple of big bags of Costco dried figs and apricots, so I threw them in a pot and covered them with hot water and let them simmer with ½ cup of coconut sugar. Let them cook down for an hour. Then pour the cooled cooked fruit mixture in the food processor and process until you have a thick filling. Raw apple, currants or raisins can be added to the mixture before cooking. She recommends cooking it down with a vanilla bean.

Here is my gluten-free “shiksa hamantaschen” dough recipe:

3 cups blanched almond flour (I also sometimes use the ground almonds from Trader Joe’s, it gives the cookie a grainer, heartier, hippy feel)
½ teaspoon sea salt
½ cup butter (Shiksa confession: Dunno –is dairy ok at Purim? Ms. Amsterdam uses grapeseed oil)
1 egg
2 tbsp. agave nectar or honey (often I boil coconut sugar with water to make a yummy syrup that I use for everything)
I tablespoon vanilla extract

  1. In a large bowl, combine almond flour and salt.
  2. In a smaller bowl, mix together melted butter, honey or agave or my coconut sugar syrup and vanilla.
  3. Mix wet ingredients into dry.
  4. Roll dough into 1 inch balls; place them on a parchment paper lined baking sheet, then press flat into small circles
  5. Scoop one teaspoon of filling into each circle of dough
  6. Fold the dough in from three sides and pinch the corners to form a triangle shaped cookie
  7. Bake at 350° for 10-12 minutes until dough is golden brown
  8. Serve!

Enjoy your small three cornered hats!

PHOTO: Neighbor Darcy

Fishy Love: Neighbors Tim and Erin Archuleta from Ichi Sushi Recall How It All Began

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If you were paying attention to all the local “Best of 2014″ restaurant lists floating around the Interwebs over the Xmas/New Years holiday, you may have noticed that Bernal’s own Ichi Sushi + Ni Bar appeared on just about all of them.

Seriously. It got so intense that your Bernalwood editor joked that I needed to create a Best Of list to keep track of all the Best Of lists that included Ichi Sushi. It was funny because it was true.

I never did create that list, but the accolades are well deserved. Ichi really is the schizz. And it’s a great story about local kids who made good, because, Ichi got its start in Bernal Heights, and the tag-team duo of Chef Tim Archuleta and his wife Erin Archuleta are still Bernal neighbors, to this day.

Last week, in an interview with OpenTable, Neighbor Tim and Neighbor Erin recalled how it all began… in the days before the restaurant, and all the Best of Lists, and all the Best of Best of Lists:

How did you two meet?

Tim: We met at a friend’s birthday at a karaoke bar. It was my karaoke and dance skills that blew her away.

Well before you opened ICHI you worked together in a couple of different food businesses. Tell me about that and how you got started.

Erin: Tim really started as a caterer in 2006, but we met in 2005. We were already living together (racy!) when he started catering, which meant that I would pitch in from time to time as he built the brand.

Tim: In the beginning it was just me. Erin gave me a lot of support. But that’s how we came up with the name, because ICHI means one and it was just me.

Erin: The catering really took off. I had consistently worked for a literacy nonprofit locally at 826 Valencia and 826 National, and I stepped away from my work full-time and just worked as a consultant for them so that I could help Tim get the catering business off the ground. We built out a catering kitchen and went to town in that direction, and then the stock market crashed. We began social catering and doing pop-ups in bars that had kitchens. That’s how a lot of people encountered us — we catered all sorts of things.

One day I was walking down Cortland and saw a food incubator space that was looking for tenants, and Tim had the idea of doing a Japanese deli. So we did that in the incubator space, and we loved it. During that time, right next to where we live Yo’s Sushi Club was leaving and he offered us the opportunity to take over the restaurant. Tim opened ICHI Sushi in 2010.

And the rest, as they say, is Best of History…

PHOTO: Tim and Erin Archuleta of Ichi Sushi

Here Is Your Schedule for Beer Week 2015 at Rock Bar, Starting TONIGHT

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Brion Rosch is the manager of the fashionable Rock Bar on 29th at Tiffany in La Lengua. He’s laid out an ambitious agenda for Beer Week 2015, San Francisco’s citywide celebration of suds, so Brion is here to tell the Citizens of Bernalwood what your week will taste like:

Rock Bar is gearing up for Beer Week. A Beer-Forward Cocktail menu is in the works, and several Tap Take-Overs are planned.

Opening with beers from North Coast Brewing, following with a common man’s flight of PBR, Olympia and Schlitz and a healthy fill of Death Metal, with a lil Speakeasy and Henhouse Brewing of Petaluma in between; you’re sure to enjoy a rotating cast of characters. On Friday the 13th Let’s Get Weird returns with a set of wah wah pedals and microphones for an evening of SHOUT OUT’s – “Hey Big Daddy, where my IPA’s at?!” Join in and give a shout out to your friend Todd in Jersey who likes his Lager crisp. Valentines Day offers chocolate covered strawberries and house cured meats from The Front Porch alongside Hopped Saison’s, Imperial Stout’s, and Cask offerings. Finish your long Beer Week with a relaxing afternoon with Speakeasy, we will have 15 minute chair massages available for brewer’s the city over… Details all on the website,

What: SF BEER WEEK at Rock Bar
Where: Rock Bar 80 29th Street
When: Feb 6th-15th 2015
Website: www.rockbarsf.com

ROCK BAR SF BEER WEEK
We plan to release a BEER centered Cocktail Menu during the duration of Beer Week – Enjoy the return of The Donkey Show; Reposado Tequila, Pear Liqueur, Allspice, CRISPIN cider, mole

Friday and Saturday Feb 6th / 7th
North Coast Tap TAKE OVER

Monday Feb 9th
The Common Man Flight;
PBR, OLYMPIA, SHLITZ
Served with a healthy dose of Death Metal

Wednesday / Thurs Feb 11th / 12th
Oskar Blues Tap TAKE OVER

FRIDAY THE 13TH
LET’S GET WEIRD / BOBBY LINDER & FRIENDS
PRESENTS SHOUT OUTS!
WE WILL CALLING SHOUT OUTS ALL NIGHT LONG
YO MILLER HIGH LIFE, WHERE YOU AT?
IMPERIAL STOUT, YOU WITH US?
GRASS FED IPA YOU FEEL ME BICH?

VALENTINE’S Day
With Hen House & Speakeasy
Enjoy chocolate covered strawberries and house cured meats alongside a Flight from each brewery
Finish your date with the return of Noche Romantica as Jose Y Jose return with ballads, rancheras, cumbias, romanticas and rock n roll

Sunday Feb 15th
A Lazy Afternoon with Speakeasy 1pm-5pm
15 minute chair massages offered

PHOTO: Beer drinks at Rock Bar, via Rock Bar

The Michael Bauer Bestoweth 2.5 Stars Upon Hillside Supper Club

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The Michael Bauer, His Eminence Restaurant Critic from the San Francisco Chronicle, returned to Hillside Supper Club on Precita Park recently to take the menu for a test drive. And lo, The Bauer was pleased:

Using the moniker Supper Club isn’t an exaggeration because Hillside feels like a neighborhood gathering place. That feeling was evident even when I returned for a regular meal several nights after the anniversary dinner. What I found was that in the year since I first reviewed the restaurant, the service has become more professional and the kitchen has found more consistency.

The small menu includes eight appetizers, four main courses and three or four specials printed on a blackboard above the open kitchen. The specials may include more unusual items than the ones on the regular menu, such as escargot and foie gras. These live in stark contrast to the homey Nonna’s meatballs ($9) in a sweet tomato sauce, accompanied by a chunk of focaccia.

Other starters include squid ink ravioli stuffed with Dungeness crab ($14), where the two ravioli in a brown butter glaze are set on puddles of avocado puree with celery root, poppy seeds and herbs; it’s a pleasant blend that works together well.

The kitchen’s more refined side is evident on the white anchovies ($12) crisscrossed like a checkerboard, with dollops of lemon puree and a scattering of orange segments, herbs and puffed amaranth. Duck liver mousse ($9), a menu mainstay, is served in a glass canning jar with a glaze of huckleberry gelee, a sweet contrast to the whole-grain mustard, cornichons and grilled bread served alongside.

Main courses include exceptional pot pies, with a buttery crust that clings to the side of a cast-iron skillet. One time it was filled with rabbit, another time venison ($24), its gaminess partly quelled by juniper in the veloute, along with Brussels sprouts and caramelized chunks of salsify.

The Bauer’s final rating: 2.5 stars. Yesssssss!

In other news, Hillside chef Tony Ferrari tells Bernalwood that the Change of Ownership sign in the window is no big thing; Tony and Chef Jonathan Sutton merely reorganized themselves into an LLC partnership. Bon appetit!

PHOTO: John Storey for San Francisco Chronicle